Claws of the Dragon
Step: Rank + PER
Strain: 1 (see text)
The adept learns to communicate with others in different tongues and may learn a number of languages equal to his Speak Language Rank. If he has an unassigned Speak Language Rank available, the adept can attempt to learn a new language by listening to a fluent speaker for at least one minute, then making a Speak Language Test against the language’s Learning Difficulty. If successful, he learns the language. If the test fails, the adept cannot attempt to learn that same language again until he improves his Speak Language Rank—he can attempt to learn other languages or dialects, however. Once a Rank has been assigned to a language it cannot be used to learn any other language. The Learning Difficulty for the different racial languages is shown in the Language Table. The numbers reflect the difficulty of learning the base “racial” versions of these languages.
When speaking, the adept makes a Speak Language Test to see how well he communicates what he wants to say. The Test Result determines the level of comprehension. Simple sentences or ideas, such as “Which way to the sheriff?” only require a result of 2; normal conversation that includes idioms or jargon requires a result of 6; technical conversations or other discussions filled with specialized jargon require a result of 10; conversations about philosophy, or other abstract ideas, require a result of 13. The effect of each Test lasts for a number of hours equal to the adept’s Speak Language Rank, allowing communication at the level achieved by the Test Result. If the adept requires more complex conversation, he must make another Speak Language Test. The Strain cost reflects the concentration required to establish and maintain communication.
Languages are often complex and most possess many different variations, or dialects. These dialects are sometimes regional, others by city, or even by kaer. Adepts attempting to learn a dialect add +2 to the Learning Difficulty of the base “racial” language. The adept must know how to speak the base “racial” language before he can attempt to learn a dialect of that language. Once learned, any dialects that an adept knows are recorded on his Character Record Sheet in parentheses beside the language it is based on. An adept can learn a number of dialects for each language he knows equal to his Speak Language Rank. For example, all player characters begin game play knowing how to speak Dwarf with a Throalic dialect, noted in parentheses on their Character Record Sheet. When attempting to speak in a dialect, an adept who knows the base “racial” language, but not the dialect, adds +2 to the Difficulty Number of his Speak Language Tests.